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11 terrorist attacks.“He started acting crazy, joking around the fact that 9/11 happened, making plane noises on the school bus and pretending he was slamming into the building,” said Robert Zirkle, who rode the school bus every day with Mateen in Stuart, Fla., 15 years ago.“He was happy that Americans were dying. I don’t know if he was always a Muslim radical, but he was excited, hyped up. “We told him if he didn’t stop making noises, we were going to beat him up.”Zitkle, who now lives in Tennessee, was a freshman at Martin County High School at the time. He was a ‘Seinfeld’ kind of guy.”The shooting dominated the presidential campaign Monday.
Mateen, he said, attended Spectrum Alternative School, a separate public school.“He was really out there,” he said of Mateen. He had people who were cordial with him or would ask him how he was doing. Democrat Hillary Clinton called for stricter gun control and Republican Donald Trump called for tighter immigration rules. You can see where people were dragged,” said Patty Sheehan, Orlando’s first openly gay city commissioner, pointing toward the building and grimacing. Sheehan knows the owner of the club and a bartender who witnessed the shooting and described to her how it unfolded.“When the police went in, they told people, ‘Raise your hand if you’re alive,’ ” she said.
See more of our top stories on Facebook »On Sunday morning, Mateen told a 911 dispatcher that he was attacking Pulse on behalf of the leader of Islamic State, FBI Director James B. Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Fla., was killed by a SWAT team and was among the 50 found dead at the site. But Mateen, who was born in New York, had also expressed solidarity with the 2013 Boston bombers and an American suicide bomber who belonged to an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria opposed to Islamic State, Comey said.
The FBI previously investigated Mateen, a security guard, for 11 months for telling co-workers in 2013 that he had relatives connected to Al Qaeda, the Sunni Muslim extremist group, while claiming he was a member of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, Comey said. The FBI also briefly investigated Mateen in 2014 on suspicion of watching videos by Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar Awlaki and for attending a mosque in Florida with a man who later became a suicide bomber for Al Nusra Front in Syria, which also opposes Islamic State. Comey defended his agents’ work but said the agency would still conduct a review.“We know that this killing is upsetting to all Americans.
When more police responded, additional officers entered the club and traded fire with the gunman."At that time we were able to save and rescue dozens and dozens of people and get them out of the club," Mina said.Islamic State proclaimed him as a member of the group through a media affiliate after the shooting.NEWSLETTER: Get the day's top headlines from Times Editor Davan Maharaj »FBI agents closed their 2013 investigation into Mateen after concluding that he didn’t understand how Al Qaeda operated and had not committed a crime.We hope that our fellow Americans will not let fear become disabling,” Comey said.He added that fear “is what these savages want.”FBI agents scrambled Monday to recover data from Mateen’s electronic media — cellphones, computers and other devices — hoping to find clues to what sparked the massacre at the nightclub, according to current and former FBI officials.